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|news.lk17 May 2010|
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has proposed that the G 15 worked very closely with the G 8 to promote constructive dialogue on all major aspects of development. He said a clear methodology needs to be worked out for this dialogue to be realistic and fruitful.
Addressing the G 15 Summit in Tehran, President Rajapaksa said that the G 15 with its unique composition representing about 33 % of the world population, with clearly identified objectives has the potential to play a constructive role in promoting people- centered development initiatives in global economic and social policy dialogues.
For this reason the G 15 stresses the need for reforms in the
international financial architecture to better enable it to monitor,
respond and to prevent financial and economic disasters. To attain
this objective there must be an open, inclusive and transparent
President Rajapaksa added, that the Bretton Woods Institutions when
working with the developing countries should take into account their
specific conditions as well as structural constraints they confront.
‘These Institutions should refrain from imposing conditionalities
which we see in retrospect, did lead in their own way to fuelling the
recent crisis,’ he continued.
President Rajapaksa also said ‘the developing world has not run away
from its responsibility to contribute to the progressive
liberalization of global trade. It is all the more regrettable that we
are yet waiting the conclusion of the Doha Round of negotiations in
the WTO and the delivery of its development mandate. The G 15 must
remain firm that the final package should address the concerns of the
The Sri Lankan President stressed that there must be increased market
access for the goods and services of export interest to us. They
should not tie up with politically motivated conditionalities.
Referring to climate change President Rajapaksa said, ‘it is an issue
towards which we in the developing world owe limited, if not little
historical responsibility. It must be recognized that the present
trend should lead to the reduction of the environmental and carbon
emission space available for developing countries in such a manner as
to impact on our entitlement to development. In this situation, it is
the principles of equity and of common but differentiated
responsibilities as enshrined in the UN Framework Convention on
Climate Change that provide the direction for our future guidance’.
Following is the text of the speech:
I greatly value this opportunity to participate in the 14th Summit of
the G-15 in Tehran. I wish to sincerely thank Your Excellency and the
people of Iran for the warm welcome and generous hospitality extended
to me and my delegation. I also would like to express my appreciation
for the excellent Summit arrangements.
I congratulate Your Excellency, on your effective stewardship of the
G-15 in the last four years, a period that has been characterized by
global economic uncertainty induced by a financial crisis resulting
from mismanaged globalization. Despite these odds, under your able
leadership, the projects component of the G-15 has been revitalized
and several initiatives focusing on further advancing South-South
cooperation have been launched.
I consider it a special privilege and an honour for Sri Lanka to
assume the Chair of the G-15 at the milestone of its 20th anniversary.
The twenty years, since the inception of our Group, have seen
significant changes in its collective economic profile. Some of our
members, who have progressed to development indicators earlier limited
to the ranks of the G8 countries, are already playing an influential
role in the global economic power structure. The Group, has countries
who are leading producers … of oil and natural gas, of extractive
resources and of commodities. Others have economies with large and
diversified industrial bases accompanied by advanced technological
capabilities. Common to our nations is a fast growing reservoir of
human capital, contributing to the knowledge economy.
The G-15, continue to translate the economic progress for a greater
voice in the global arena. In claiming such a voice, we can point to
the strength of our collective developmental experiences. My country,
Sri Lanka, has displayed capacity for growth despite many obstacles.
We have achieved an economic growth of about 6 percent per annum, with
consequently our per capita income increasing from US dollars one
thousand sixty (1,060) in the year 2005, to US dollars two thousand
fifty (2,050) in 2009. What is significant is that it took us over 55
years since we gained independence to reach the one thousand dollar
mark in our per capita income, but during the last 4 years that it has
doubled. All of this was achieved despite an almost thirty year
struggle against brutal terrorism and separatism, the devastation of
the 2004 Asian Tsunami and the recent global financial crisis which
reminds us of the systemic risks and vulnerability of the global
The crux of the development approach of my country, as presented in
the Mahinda Chintana, my electoral manifesto, is a people focused
approach. We are committed to this approach and have set ourselves the
multiple goals of rapid economic growth and employment generation,
reduction of poverty accompanied by re-distributive justice,
regionally balanced development and environmental sustainability. All
of this, we seek to accomplish while remaining true to our
longstanding framework of democratic governance and cultural values.
As I stated to my colleagues, the other Heads of State or Government
of the South Asian nations during the 16th SAARC Summit in Bhutan, we
in Sri Lanka, have the conviction that economic progress does not
require the mass movement of populations from the rural hinterland to
urban areas. Rather than moving people to urban areas, which brings
about a variety of problems connected with housing, water, sewage and
many social issues, my Government has consistently preferred to make
facilities and resources available to the rural population in their
own areas to ensure that they have equal access to become partners as
well as beneficiaries of modern development. This was a factor behind
the recent resounding mandate my Government received from the rural
population in all areas of Sri Lanka.
It is pertinent to note in this regard that the Central Bank of Sri
Lanka itself has been re-oriented to facilitate poverty reduction and
micro-financing and development finance projects in the country,
departing from their conventional approach to central banking.
Equally, our state banks have taken the lead to open rural areas by
providing greater access to finance and promote private banks to
follow such a path of development through competition in the banking
and finance industry. Through such a spread, we have achieved a rate
of 82 percent of households accessing the services offered by
I made a revolutionary change in the conventional poverty reduction
strategy as well, by empowering the community to participate in their
development through the popularly known Gama Neguma or the village
re-awakening programme. This initiative was enriched with the
development of rural access roads, electricity, drinking and
irrigation water and other basic facilities connecting people.
Therefore, my vision was to make the whole country one unique township
and place the whole country on a path to become an emerging economy in
Asia, with per capita income rising in excess of US dollars four
thousand the next 5 years. Given that background, we would be happy to
share our experiences in re-shaping development strategies to meet our
We all agree that our own development policies as well as those of the
international and regional bodies that we represent must be people
centered and result in a fair distribution of benefits. The G15 with
its unique composition, also representing about 33 percent of the
world population, and clearly identified objectives, has the potential
to play a constructive role in promoting people centered development
initiatives in global economic and social policy dialogues.
It is for this reason that we stress the need for reforms to the
international financial architecture, to better enable it to monitor,
respond and prevent financial and economic disasters. To attain this
objective, there must be an open, inclusive and transparent dialogue.
Furthermore, the Bretton Woods Institutions when working with the
developing countries, should take into account the latter's specific
conditions and needs, as well as the structural constraints they
confront. These Institutions should refrain from imposing
conditionalities which we see in retrospect, did lead in their own way
to fuelling the recent crisis. Though many of the developing economies
have raised concerns in the past over so called Washington consensus
and stressed the need for alternative development models and thinking
for our progress, developing countries as a group has not succeeded in
the past. However, now we see a paradigm shift towards strategic state
interventions, increased role for the government, safeguards to
liberalization, deregulations etc, following the recent experience in
the western economies.
In addition, we are concerned that despite the presence of the global
economy, and financial surveillance through multilateral organizations
and existence of early warning systems, adequate progress has not been
made in crisis prevention efforts.
The developing world has not run away from its responsibility to
contribute to the progressive liberalization of global trade. It is
therefore all the more regrettable that we are yet awaiting the
conclusion of the Doha Round of negotiations in the WTO and the
delivery of its development mandate. The G-15 must remain firm that
the final package should address the concerns of the developing
countries. There must be increased market access for the goods and
services of export interest to us. They should not tie up with
politically motivated conditionalties. We must also be clear that the
provision of the policy space needed to develop our economies and to
contribute to self sufficiency in agriculture would be an essential
pre-requisite for a balanced outcome to the Round.
Our 21st Century challenge of climate change is an issue towards which
we in the developing world owe limited, if not little historical
responsibility. It must be recognized that the present trend could
lead to the reduction of the environmental and carbon emission space
available for developing countries in such a manner, as to impact on
our entitlement to development. In this situation, it is the
principles of equity and of common but differentiated responsibilities
as enshrined in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change that
provide the direction for our future guidance.
Given the fast growing reservoir of human capital in our nations, we
in the G-15 must remain sensitive to the growing importance of issues.
While we will always be committed to the safeguard and protection of
intellectual property, the developed nations must also provide the
flexibility necessary for the sharing of knowledge and information,
which would lead to a better world for us all. For us in Sri Lanka,
being blessed by nature as we are with a rich bio-diversity, measures
to prevent the misappropriation of genetic resources are especially
paramount. We also urge a greater focus on the protection and
preservation of traditional knowledge, including other aspects of our
heritage such as folk-lore.
The G-15, with the rich diversity of experiences and civilizations
inherent in its ranks, is uniquely placed to advocate the need for
constructive balance in global policies. I am confident that the G-15
as it embarks on its third decade, would not be found wanting in
meeting its responsibilities to its Member States and to the rest of
the international community.
In this context, I propose that G 15 work very closely with G 8 to
promote constructive global dialogue on all major aspects of
development. A clear methodology needs to be worked out for this
dialogue between the G 15 and G 8 to be realistic and fruitful.
The G 15, to harness its full potential within the group for promoting
people centered development, it is important that we launch a
collective project for fair assessment of progress and prospects for
enhanced co-operation in economic, financial and other areas including
scientific and cultural aspects and appoint a high level task force
using the great repository of expertise that we have in our government
institutions, academia and the private sector.
I propose that we concentrate on action to strengthen Development
Corporation in the area of infrastructure development, human resource
development and trade and investment promotion within the group. We
together also should demonstrate to the world our clear commitment to
promote prosperity and preserve sustainable peace and security within
and across all nations, and further develop our capacities for strong
co-existence. In addition to the proposed Task Force, a mechanism to
facilitate exchange of human resource skills within the group should
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I thank the Member States of the G15 for the confidence and faith
placed on Sri Lanka to lead the group in the next term. I am confident
that we have with us the capacity to ensure the resurgence of our
countries and to revitalize our organization to be a more powerful
player in promoting economic and social progress for the benefit of
I thank you for your kind attention.
May the Blessings of the Noble Triple Gem be with you.